Premarital Agreements in the State of Florida – Do I Need One?
What is a Premarital Agreement?
In the state of Florida, a premarital agreement is defined as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” The purpose of a premarital agreement is to identify personal property held by each party, and make a determination about what will happen to the property in the (hopefully unlikely) event of a divorce. This is considered a legally binding contract between the parties.
What is “Property?”
For the purpose of a premarital agreement in Florida, “property” includes real property, such as a lake home. It includes tangible personal property, such as a family heirloom. Property includes intangible property as well, such as that idea you’ve been meaning to bring to fruition, copyright, and utilize to make your first million dollars. Property also includes income from your rental property, stocks, and other investments, as well as your earnings.
We Hardly Have Any Property Between Us. Should We Still Get a Premarital Agreement?
Even if you don’t presently have a lot of property, you do have some. Further, in the state of Florida, “property” doesn’t just refer to property each of you has the day you enter into the marriage. It also covers future interests in the types of property discussed above.
What is Required for a Premarital Agreement to be Legally Valid?
First, to be legally valid in the state of Florida, a premarital agreement must be in writing. Second, to be legally valid, both parties must sign the agreement. Finally, a premarital agreement is only enforceable after the marriage has taken place.
What, Exactly, Can Be Included in a Premarital Contract?
A premarital agreement can cover one or more of the following topics:
- Each parties’ rights and obligations in any property belonging to either party – or both parties. This can include property contemplated as future acquisitions;
- A determination of who has the right to buy, use, transfer, assign, sell, abandon, exchange, consume, expend, lease, mortgage, dispose of, encumber, create a security interest in, or otherwise exercise control or manage the property;
- A determination of which law will govern any dispute about what the agreement means;
- How property will be disposed of in the event of death, divorce, separation, or the occurrence (or even the non-occurrence) of any other event deemed appropriate by the parties involved;
- Ownership rights of any death benefit from any life insurance policy;
- Spousal support, including the establishment of, modification of, elimination of, or waiver of same;
- Establishing a will, trust, or any other financial arrangement that will allow for the carrying out of the provisions of the agreement;
- Any other matter deemed appropriate by the parties, including personal obligations and personal rights.
Are There Things That Cannot be Included in a Premarital Agreement?
Yes. No agreement can be entered into that would be considered a violation of public policy. Additionally, the lawful right to child support cannot be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
What Should I Do if I’m Getting Married Soon?
Getting married is an exciting and important event. If you are getting married, contact Fort Lauderdale family law attorney Sandra Bonfiglio to learn how we can help protect your rights.